|For more information about Mao, see Mao Zedong on Wikipedia.|
Chairman Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) was the founder and First Chairman of the People's Republic of China.
Background[edit | edit source]
Mao was born into a wealthy peasant family and embraced Chinese nationalist and anti-imperial ideals early in life, impressed upon him by the Xiahai Revolution of 1911, which overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, and the May Fourth Movement in response to the Republic of China's weak response to Japan receiving Chinese territory following World War I in 1919. After converting to Marxism-Leninism, he became a founding member to the Communist Party of China and led the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the following Chinese Civil War (1927—1936 and 1946—1950), Mao helped to found the Red Army, which was successful in defeated the Chinese nationalists and ended the Chinese Civil War.
On October 1, 1949, Mao declared the foundation of the People's Republic of China, a single party state controlled with an iron fist by the Communist Party of China. In his Great Leap Forward campaign in 1957, Mao's government attempted to convert China's predominately agrarian economy into one of industry, contributing to a famine responsible for at least 15 million deaths. In 1966, Mao initiated the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in an effort to remove "counter-revolutionary" aspects of society, which resulted in violent class struggles and the further elevation of Mao's cult of personality. In a 1972 visit from President Richard Nixon, Mao and Nixon worked to further normalize relations between the two states. Mao Zedong died in 1976 after his third heart attack that year.